Bearing the brunt of "Preservationist" frustration

Larry Harrell lhfotoware at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 19 22:00:16 EST 2004


Me and my two crew members were accosted by two climbers as we were
doing our jobs today (selecting trees to be sprayed for bark beetles).
We were cursed at by one climber at the top of his lungs, using plenty
of expletives. He showed us his cancer tumor while ranting that his
doctor told him to "live somewhere clean". Is there ANY place in
Southern California that is free of all carcinogens? During his rant,
he graciously said, "I know you are just doing your job but........(at
the top of his lungs) f*ck you!!" and added several more screaming
insults and tantrums. I stuck to the "high ground" and offered some
suggestions, encouraged him to express his opinions and concerns, and
to work within the system to have the best chance of getting his point
across. He didn't want to hear it and continued screaming. I was VERY
polite and did not try to defend the project.

The other guy was pretty ignorant about ecosystem management, saying
"It's pretty arrogant for you to think that you can do better than
nature in fixing our forests." I explained that old growth elements of
the forest can be saved without needing to let it burn
catastrophically. He also claimed that the entire area in and around
the town of Idyllwild had been clearcut 100 years ago. I looked
around, using my highly educated eyes, and saw steep and rocky terrain
that could not have been logged at the turn of the century. I also saw
300 year old trees nearby that somehow weren't cut 100 years ago. Even
today, clearcuts could NOT be accomplished there without helicopters.
He also stated that this messed up forest needs to burn so that nature
can rebalance everything, including the town of Idyllwild (thinking
that firefighters could save the houses still surrounded by
overstocked and unhealthy forests).

This is a prime example of how ignorant and frustrated
"preservationists" are, even when we're trying to save old growth
trees in recreation areas. My crew and I almost ended up biting our
tongues in half. We should have just walked away and continued our
work but, I tried to console the man and "feel his pain". I ended our
contact with them by reminding them to be careful while climbing. I
then made a command decision to not mention spraying when conversing
with the public. We're now just "designating bark beetle study trees".
I don't get paid enough to hold my temper when confronted by such
ignorant extremist potty-mouths.

Larry,   not talking to preservationists in person anymore



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